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Posts Tagged ‘#sweatpink’

summer

It’s summertime! Which means that school is out, my schedule is my own, and I’m footloose and fancy free.  Summer means the weather is warm, the sun is shining, and I can kick my workouts (and my weight loss!) into high gear.  I have less than 30 pounds to go to reach my ultimate weight loss goal, and I plan to lose quite a bit of that this summer. But this summer is about so much more than losing weight; it’s about living my new life.  I worked so hard for this new, healthy body, and I want to spend this summer doing a lot of the things I only dreamed of doing when I was at my heaviest.  That means riding rollercoasters, running in 5Ks, trying new water sports, wearing styles (and sizes!) of clothes that I could never wear before.  I want to LIVE every moment of this summer to the fullest. I’ve moved my weigh-ins to Wednesdays as a way to check in midweek. My Wednesday progress updates will be called Sensational Summer Weigh-Ins.

Week 61 was awesome!  Not only did I enjoy my increased calorie intake, but I got in 6 days of solid workouts (which helped me exceed my goal of #150bysummer!), and I finally made it to the beach for the first time this summer.  With only two weeks left before I start my teacher meetings, I’m determined to make each day count.

bilbl_scale.jpg So, what did the scale show?!

When I weighed in this morning, I was 178.4, which is a loss of 2.4 pounds this week, and a loss of 98.6 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 136.6 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 28.4 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. I’m really excited to see a significant loss like this on the scale, because it’s been awhile!  Increasing my daily calories to around 1000 net calories per day is working well; it keeps me really satisfied throughout the day and it also curbs any cravings I may have. This morning’s weigh in marks my lowest weight on the scale in the last 20+ years, and I can’t wait to keep hitting new “lows” as these weeks continue.

One NSV that I’d like to share happened yesterday, on #TransformationTuesday, appropriately enough.  When I was originally asked to be a SweatPink Ambasador, one of the cool things the Fit Approach crew does is send out pink shoelaces and a SweatPink tank.  The shoelaces were no problem. The tank, though, didn’t fit, not by a LONG shot.  I ordered the largest size available, and there was no way on earth that it was going to fit me.  So I put it away for all this time.  Over two years it sat on a shelf, just waiting for the day when I could put it on.  For some reason, I decided to give it a try yesterday.  And you know what, it not only fit, but I was really happy with how I looked in it.

Here’s my post to the FB group:

SPAFB

I’m floored that 145 people “liked” my post!

Better than that was that when I posted about it on the SweatPink Ambassadors’ Facebook page, the outpouring of love and support was overwhelming!

Just a few of the comments I got from my SPAs

Just a few of the comments I got from my SPAs

Lately I’ve been seeing myself as a fit person, which is amazing to me.  For so many years I  was the “pretty plus-sized girl,” but now I’m proud of the body that I have.  I’m not hiding it behind loose clothes and layers, I’m wearing form-fitting outfits that show off my strong legs, shapely waist, curvy booty, and arms that are beginning to show some definition.  I love the way I’ve transformed, and I’m really enjoying dressing this new physique.  I like showing it off a bit, which is such a switch from the years of camouflaging my flaws.   Yes, I still have things I want to work on, but I’m happy to let the real me SHINE.

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Until Wednesday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

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Today I participated in the San Jose 408K (5 miles), which benefits the Pat Tillman Foundation. It was part of Race the Bay, a 3-part race series around the Bay Area.  It was my first time doing this race, but I think it’s going to become an annual event for me.

The fun thing about this race was that I organized a group of my colleagues to participate in it with me.  When I first heard about the race, I asked my principal if she would mind if I organized a group of faculty to do the race, and she did me one better and said that she’d pay for everyone’s bibs!  How generous!  My original thought was that we could all train together, as we did for our powderpuff football game, for months before the race.  The only kink in that plan was that those months coincided with soccer season; the team uses the same field that our track is on.  But these were a committed group of racers who put in the hours in their neighborhoods and on treadmills to get ready for the race.  I’ve been overwhelmed by all the thank-yous and expressions of gratitude that my colleagues have given me! They loved that we were doing something that was so healthy and fun.

2014-03-02 06.24.10 What’s a race without my usual bathroom selfie?  Since our school colors are blue and gold, I’d asked one of our school’s families who own a screen printing shop if they would help us design a training tee. My original vision was that we’d wear it when  we were training together, but since we didn’t end up training together, we all decided to be distinctive and wear our specialy-created shirts during the race.  And I love that my Sparkly Soul headband matches perfectly!  I have to say, I’m surprised by how bright-eyed I look in that shot, because I started off the morning very early (I woke up at 5am before my alarm!) to make sure I was down at the race in plenty of time to hang up this poster I had my students make for us to put up in a meeting area. (One really cool NSV this morning was that one of the teachers said that she’d seen me from across the street, but had no idea it was me until she got closer; then she complimented me on my weight loss).

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Isn’t it adorable?!

1656061_10102504660372363_490544330_nI was really impressed that we had 27 of the 30 teachers who signed up show up today.  It was a chilly, damp morning and the lure of a warm bed was huge, but they were dedicated and determined.  For quite a few of them, this was their first race ever, so it’s all the more impressive that they were doing 5 miles.

2014-03-02 15.53.39 As we waited for the race to start, we snapped tons of pictures, one of which I took. See all those people wearing blue behind us, they are all part of the group…

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The race itself was a beautiful course that featured different radio stations at each of the mile markers.  I had decided to walk today’s race for a few reasons: 1). Most of the faculty had decided to walk, and I thought it would be a lot more fun to be part of that group, 2). I haven’t done a 5-mile run/walk before, and I wasn’t sure if this was the day to try it, and 3). I woke up with a sore ankle and thought it was better not to push it.

I’m really glad that I ended up walking because it was a lot of fun to chat with a few of my colleagues as we completed the race.  And I’m proud to tell you that I kept up with the “talls” who have long legs and a fast stride.  For this 5’3″ girl, keeping up with these lanky ladies is pretty remarkable!  We walked the entire course, until the final stretch, where we decided to finish strong and run into the finish line.

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We started to run right before this point, but once I saw that Finish sign, it really powered me through.

I’m happy to say that every one of the faculty who started the race finished it!  We all had such a good time that we’ve decided we want to make it an annual team building event.  After the race we all headed to breakfast, where we toasted with mimosas and enjoyed egg white omelets (or, at least, that’s what I ordered).

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All smiles after the race, sporting our “race bling!”

In terms of my own race, I felt strong and confident the entire time.  My sore ankle only bothered me for the last half mile, which wasn’t too bad.  The only pain I have now, beyond the normal post-race muscle soreness, is a tiny blister on the bottom of my left foot, which is thanks to a poor choice of socks.  But really, I had so much fun at this race, especially during “mariachi mile,” when groups of mariachis played for us for our last mile.  1655341_724409950912195_61886308_o

It really was a fun way to spend a Sunday morning. We decided we’re all wearing our race bling and the official race shirts to school tomorrow, to show off our accomplishment.  Fun!

Considering that I walked 99.5% of the race, I’m especially proud of my time today!

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bilbl_super This morning FaveCousin, KE, and I woke up before dawn in order to participate in the SF Hot Chocolate 5K, benefiting Ronald McDonald House.  I’d first heard about the Hot Chocolate 5K back when I went to the SJ RocknRoll expo. The name sounded so fun, and I knew it would be a great way to start off the new year.  I was so happy that FaveCousin wanted to do it with me and said I could stay overnight with her.  She and I had a good time at the Mermaid, and this time KE (FaveCousin’s cousin’s wife (in Italian families things can get complicated)) was going to do it with us, adding to the fun.

This race was early – a 6:15am call time for a 7:30 start time.  Luckily, FaveCousin suggested we get there a bit later so that we had more time to sleep in and less time just waiting around.  Still, we had plenty of time for a few photos:

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It was freezing this morning in Golden Gate Park, but after yesterday’s drizzly weather, we were glad that it was clear.  I am so glad that I had the wherewithal to bring my earmuff headband (is that what you call it?), because it helped keep me a bit warmer.

Check out the cool technical hoodie they gave us as a race shirt.  I'm so proud that I fit into a Women's XL.

Check out the cool technical hoodie they gave us as a race shirt. I’m so proud that I fit into a Women’s XL.

For me, the worst part of any 5K is waiting for the race to start.  To get myself in the right frame of mind and get past my nervousness about running more of the 5K than I ever have before, I got my playlist going.  Music is phenomenal for calming nerves isn’t it?

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The line of people waiting behind me to get this 5K started!

Soon enough, we were at the starting line.  The pic on the left is the one I took, the one on the right is the one from the 5K’s FB page.  For a small race that few people had heard of, there sure were a lot of us out there.

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The thing I didn’t really think about when planning my 5min run/3min walk intervals was the fact that this is SF, and even in Golden Gate Park, which is relatively flat compared to some streets in the city, it still has some steep inclines.  It became pretty clear to me that I was going to have to wing it – I ran as long as I could and walked when I needed to. I made sure that I was running at every down hill slope and I pushed myself to walk as fast and hard as I could during the inclines. In fact, I was walking fast enough that I was passing some of the slower joggers.  I know I’m going to feel some of that tomorrow.  So while I didn’t keep my intervals perfectly timed or regulated, I am proud of what I did out there today.

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Look at these beautiful views that I got to enjoy while I was out there today. San Francisco is such a gorgeous city!

I passed mile 1 pretty quickly and easily, and then it was a long haul.  Since the three of us had decided to each take the race at our own pace, I had my music to keep me going.  Well, that and a few other racers who I was pacing myself against.  At one point I was getting tired, but knew I needed to push on and Gotta Get Through This by Daniel Beddington came on my headphones.  Perfect timing! And then I almost started crying as I ran along when Ali in the Jungle by The Hours came on…listen to these lyrics:

I mean, c’mon: “It’s not where you are, but where you’re going.  It’s not about the things you’ve done, it’s what you’re doing now.”  These were the absolute perfect lyrics to keep my feet running even after my body told me I was getting tired.  I was completely inspired.  (Both songs are on the Wogging My World mix from RockMyRun, if you’re interested).

And just was the song was finishing, I saw the mile 3 marker and the Finish line in the distance.  I took knew I was going to run myself through that line no matter what.  Talk about a moment of pride!
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In fact, I was so overcome at the end of this race for all that I’d just done, that I got really emotional again.  Tears in the eyes and everything. I almost went into the ugly cry, but stopped myself.  It just hits me every time I run a new race about how far I’ve come, all that I’ve accomplished, and how grateful I am for this new life I’ve created for myself.

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I think you can see the tears in my eyes in this shot.

Soon after, I met up with FaveCousin and KE, and we all enjoyed our Finisher’s Mug of chocolate fondue, complete with the fixings – a mini rice krispie treat, a petite banana, some mini pretzels, and a marshmallow, along with a steaming mug of hot chocolate.  I allowed myself a bit of the fondue with the banana, rice krispy, and marshmallow, but skipped the hot chocolate and the pretzels.  So delicious!

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The entire race was so well run and organized that I’ll definitely do it again next year.  If it comes to a city near you, I highly recommend that you join in on all the fun.

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Oh, and the sweetest part?  I shaved 2 minutes and 50 seconds off of my Santa Run time, even with all the inclines in this race!!! I completed this one in 46 minutes, 8 seconds – a new PR!!

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bilbl_superToday’s Adventures in Fitness (AIF) is a twofer – I completed C25K Week 3, Day 1 while I participated in the Silicon Valley Santa Run.

I’d been looking forward to the Santa Run all month because it was going to be the first time I attempted any sort of run/walk while doing a 5K.  And, it was going to be the first time I did the 5K on my own, well, sort of.  Ani and Di both did it with me, but I’d told them upfront that I really wanted to continue my C25K program, so I’d be using my headphones and doing the walk/run.  They were both really cool about the fact that we wouldn’t be walking this 5K side by side as we had when we did the Color Me Rad.

Pre race, I had to get my selfies in:

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We wanted to get down to the race area early, so we’d have no problems with parking.  Since it was starting really late – at 3pm, we left around 12:30 and had lunch at Chipotle.  I had a steak burrito bowl, which was a great choice since I only eat 1/3 of it at a time and it fueled me perfectly.  We got down to the race area with over an hour to spare. So what do three girls who are excited about a 5K do? Take “groupies” of course:

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I’m so lucky that I did this 5K with these girls. We’ve been friends since our freshman year of high school. We’ve shared so much! Love them!

Waiting for the race was the most difficult part, partly because I’m just so impatient and partly because I had so much anticipation going into it, because I was going to do Day 1 of Week 3 of C25K, which is fairly intimidating:

5:00 warm up
Jog: 1:30
Walk 1:30
Jog: 3:00 (yes, that’s 3 entire minutes of jogging at once)
Walk: 3:00
Jog: 1:30
Walk: 1:30
Jog: 3:00
Walk: 3:00
5:00 cool down

2013-12-15 14.59.45 And just like that, I was off and walking at a brisk pace (Endomondo clocked me at 4.0mph).  At the first jogging section, I knew I started running too  quickly – all the adrenaline hit me, and my competitive streak definitely kicked in, too.  Because I’d started running at was was surely a 5.0 mph, I barely made it to the end of the first section, but I did.  And I definitely used the 1:30 walk time to catch my breath.  When it came time to run for 3:00 run, I have to be honest and say that I stopped running with about a minute to go.  I couldn’t seem to regulate my pace.  I was either going as fast as I could, or I was walking.  By the time it got to the next running section, I realized I needed to slow it down if I was going to make it through, which is what I did.  I was still going at a good pace, about 4.5mph, which is faster than my usual treadmill runs.  By the time I was hitting the second and final 3:00 run, I am so proud to say I made it all the way through.  I took it slow, but I did it.  28 minutes of the C25K was done, but I still had more of this 5K to go.

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The sea of Santas running in front of me – we all looked so cool out there! It was such a fun thing to be a part of.  Definitely on my Must Do list for next year, too.

I’d thought I was going to complete the remainder of the race walking, but I felt so guilty about giving up a minute early on that one section of running, that I continued to do a run/walk style for the rest of the race.  Nothing evenly timed, mind you.  I’d just walk for a bit and then tell myself to run from those palm trees to that street sign, and so on.  I did that at least 4 times.

rocky_balboa_runningThe proudest of those times was when the course was getting to a fairly steep incline, and I decided to “get all Rocky” on that incline and run up it. And I didn’t stop at the top of that incline, but kept running to the next intersection.  When I finished, I felt like this:

imagesI kept doing these periodic run/walk intervals for the rest of the race.  I was listening to my Madonna RockMyRun playlist, and felt incredibly invigorated.  I did end the 5K walking, but I was walking strong, and proud.  I felt so good!

2013-12-15 15.52.09 As I crossed the finish line, I got completely overwhelmed.  Tears welled up in my eyes, and I had to hold myself back from the brink of the ugly cry, because I was on the edge of it.  I was so emotional because the realization hit me – I had just done a 5K where I was running for 1/3 of it!  (Carina, my math may not be right – I don’t think I did a full 1/2, so my English-teacher brain goes to the next “measuring cup portion” I can think of). I’d also just PR’d! (More on that in a second).  As of today I have lost 112 pounds, and I am doing things I only dreamed of.  Actually, I guess I’m living my dreams.  So you can see why I was so emotional.  This experience meant the world to me.

2013-12-15 17.19.25When I got this notification that I’d completed the 5K in 48:56, I was ecstatic!  I can actually say I’d PR’d!!  By about 8 minutes, which is awesome! I can’t explain the feeling of pride that I had at that moment.  Just so happy about my life and all that I’ve done to change it.  Incredible!

2013-12-15 15.52.20 The Santa Run ended at Christmas in the Park, and this tree was the first thing I saw as I finished.  I was still trying to get ahold of my emotions, and seeing this majestic tree really hit home for me.  In those post-race minutes when I was taking it all in, this tree symbolized everything I had just accomplished.  I know that may sound corny or silly, but it’s 100% true.

It didn’t take long for Di to finish next and then Ani was shortly behind her.  We’d all finished the 5K in under an hour, and were feeling really good.  As we walked back to the car, we happened upon one last photo op:

2013-12-15-16-09-57It was the perfect spot to take a post-race pic. Such a beautiful setting, and I was feeling just this beautiful inside and out.

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bilbl_superThis morning I woke up with a mission.  Even though it was freezing cold outside, I was going to head to the track at my neighborhood high school and start C25K.  (I was supposed to start on Monday, but Sofi was feeling ill and after our visit to the vet, I didn’t want to leave her home alone. I’ve had appointments and other obligations the rest of this week, so today was the first time I’ve been able to get to the track in the morning).

As you guys know, I’ve tried C25K once or twice before. Both of my previous attempts weren’t successful.  I really wanted to do the program, but I just weighed too much to physically do it.  In fact, both times before, I wasn’t even able to complete all of the running segments on the first day.  I figured that it was ok to skip a few of them, as long as I was out there and moving, and I guess at the time it was alright, because my fitness level just wasn’t up to it.  The heart wanted it, but the body couldn’t follow.

So getting up this morning, I have to say that I was determined that this third time was going to be different.  I wasn’t going to allow myself anything but success.  But I was still scared that I wouldn’t be able to do it, even though I really wanted to.

Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to require the most from you.” – Caroline Myss  (One of my MFP peeps posted this quote today, and it couldn’t be more apropos).

It was 46 degrees as I got out of the car and walked toward the track. (That temp downright frosty for this Bay Area girl!) But I knew that I’d warm up quickly once I started jogging.  So I turned on Endomondo, opened my Madonna Madness Rock my Run playlist, and opened my C25K app from Zen Labs.

I started on the 5-minute warm up, really enjoying the Madonna beats the DJ had put in the mix, and taking in the gorgeous, sunny weather.  There were only 3 other people out on the track with me, and since I had my shaper on underneath my workout pants, I felt confident that there wasn’t “too much jiggle in my wiggle.” Even though I was anxious about starting the running portion of the C25K, I decided not to psych myself out and just enjoy the warm up.

As I was rounding the track for the third time, I thought to myself, “wow, I’ve gone 3/4 of a mile in 5 minutes!” And then I thought, “wait a minute…that’s not possible, I’m only going at about 3.5 mph, what’s going on?!” And that’s when I realized that the dumb C25K app I was using wasn’t prompting me to switch to running.  Apparently, I had to keep it open and active for it to give me any cues.  I thought it would work in the background, but apparently you get what you pay for.  (This app from Zen Labs was free and not worth the time it took to download it).  In reality, I’d gone 13:56 minutes.  Ugh.  But I wasn’t going to let this less than stellar start deter me from doing the C25K – I’d make it work.

So, I started the app over again, did another 5 minutes of warm up, and then hit the intervals.  60 seconds of running, followed by 90 seconds of walking, for 20 minutes.  It sucked to have to keep the app up and active the whole time, but I wasn’t going to let that stand in my way of completing this goal.

{If anyone can recommend a C25K app, please leave it in the comments. I’m willing to spend some money on an app that can run in the background}.

As I started running, I felt light, smooth, and easy.  Ok, easy probably isn’t the right word, but I did feel strong.  I wasn’t huffing and puffing as I had in the past.  I’d learned from my last attempt at C25K that I needed to pace myself and not run at a sprint, otherwise I’d wear myself out.  So I jogged in my “tip-toeing-through-the-tulips” style that my sister says I have.  Carina said that this might mean that I’m light on my feet, and since she’s a running expert, let’s go with that.  🙂

In the past, I’ve been so out of breath during the running portions of the program that I had to skip a few of those segments, but not today.  Today I completed each 60-second run, and sure, those last 10 seconds or so were me willing myself to finish it, but I didn’t give up and start walking early.  I stayed with my jog and pushed through it.

83db7483820eceb252910509dfbb17d9I’m so glad that this morning, for the first time ever, I listened to the part of my brain that has helped me lose 106 pounds.  Today I tapped into every single ounce of perseverance that I possess, and I kept going.  And you know what, it was actually great.

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As I finished the 20-minute run/walk intervals and began the 5-minute cool down, I had the hugest smile on my face.  I’d accomplished something that had been a goal of mine for so long.  And I did it well.  Sure, today’s just Day 1, Week 1, but I am confident that I will be able to complete this program this time, and that’s more exciting than I can express.

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Reward Time!! TGI(Black)F

Because I’m someone who responds well to rewards, and since today is Black Friday, I decided to take advantage of the deals Old Navy was advertising and buy myself a few casual/workout/”after school” clothes.  I’d just completed Day 1, Week 1 of C25K and it was time to shop!! I got all of these items for $65, including tax, which I’d say is a GREAT deal. I know that within two months these will be too big for me, but at prices like, this, I’m fine with it.  Part of enjoying each step of my journey is feeling and looking my best as I do it.  Having clothes that fit is a huge part of that. So I don’t mind buying a few pieces that won’t fit me forever – I deserve it.

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Today FaveCousin and I walked in the SF Mermaid 5K.  A stark contrast from my first Mermaid 5K, which I participated in back in March 2009 with my sister.  If you have a few minutes, go and read that post.  If you don’t have a few, I’ll recap it:

It was March 2009. I weighed 275 pounds or so (over 60 pounds more than I do now, but 40 pounds less than my all-time highest weight).  I had signed up for Team in Training, planning to walk a half marathon, but had been having difficulty with numbness in my right foot which moved up my leg all the way to my hip.  It was awful, debilitating, and extremely frustrating.  But my friend Harj decided that she wanted all of her friends to celebrate her birthday by participating in the Mermaid Run.  So I asked my sister if she’d do it with me.  From the start of the race, everyone passed us – the runners, the power walkers, the walkers, the women with strollers – everyone.  I mean, we were dead last.  And it got to me because I wanted to push harder, go farther, move faster.  But I couldn’t.  I had shin splints, cramps in my calves, and the numbness in my feet/legs.  I broke down hysterically crying shortly after we’d begun, and my sister had to talk me down.  One of the things I realized that day was that I’d have to forgo the TNT training and the 1/2 marathon, because I physically just couldn’t do it.  It was one of my low points in this journey.

The photo on the left was taken in March 2009.  The one of the right was taken today.  I can see a HUGE change in my face.

The photo on the left was taken in March 2009. The one of the right was taken today. I can see a HUGE change in my face.

Cut to today – FaveCousin and I had to walk about a mile from the parking lot to the start of the race and we did so in less than 12 minutes!  We got to the starting line and enjoyed the “girl power” music – Beyonce, Katy Perry (Even though I really dislike her music, I have to admit that “Roar” is a rallying song), etc.  I was excited for so many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that today I was wearing that women’s cut shirt that I would’ve never fit in back in 2009.

2013-11-10 07.23.332013-11-10 07.33.30 At 7:35am, the race started, and while plenty of people passed us, we were far from the last ones walking.  In fact, we were solidly in the middle of the pack.  This fact alone made me incredibly happy and awestruck at just how far I’ve come.

It's hard to see because of the lighting, but I just had to take a photo of all the walkers behind us.  We weren't the last ones!!

It’s hard to see because of the lighting, but I just had to take a photo of all the walkers behind us. We weren’t the last ones!! There are more walkers for a good half mile behind this group, too.

While we walked, I felt good.  I wasn’t exerting myself, and I knew that eventually I should either push myself to start competing in 10Ks or I should start run/walking.  (More on the running in a future post – let’s just say that next year I’m going to do my best to run most of the 5K). But for today, I decided to just continue walking at my 3.8mph pace, and enjoy the lovely scenery and the great company. Today there were no tears.  Today I was all smiles as I realized that this 5K was going to be an entirely different experience from the last Mermaid 5K.

2013-11-10 07.49.29 2013-11-10 07.40.14 2013-11-10 08.05.44 2013-11-10 08.03.48San Francisco really is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and that Golden Gate Bridge is one of the jewels.  The weather was brisk and chilly, but sunny while we were racing.  Oddly enough, the fog rolled in later in the morning, but while we walked we were blessed with the sunshine. (Although you can see just what the foggy, ocean air does to my hair – can we say ‘fro?!).

All told, we finished the 5K in 56 minutes, which is a darn good pace for walking.  I hit over 10,000 steps by 9am.  I’m so proud of all that I have accomplished and the dramatic difference between this race and the one back in 2009.  I’m a completely different person now, with abilities that match my determination.  I couldn’t be more thrilled with my progress!! Today was definitely one of the high points in my journey!

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bilbl_superThis morning when I logged into MyFItnessPal, as I do first thing every morning, I saw that Tinkerbell was taking part in a 30-Day Squat challenge that one of her MFP friends posted about.  I’m always up for a challenge, being the competitive girl that I am, so I decided to join in.

And you guys know me, not only did I join in, but I jumped in with both feet!  I Googled  “30-Day Squat Challenge” and found a couple of great sites.  This one has a bunch of awesome 30-Day fitness challenges, so you know I’ll be coming back to it again and again. (In fact, I’d love to get votes on which challenge I should complete in September, so put your vote in the comments). Google also showed this FitSugar article that shows lots of different ways to complete the squat challenge.  I’m all about variety in my workouts, so these moves will come in handy and help me keep things interesting.

Squats are particularly interesting to me because the results are almost immediate.  Or should I say, the pain is.  It’s that great, sore feeling that let’s you know you worked your body.  And without sounding conceited or full of myself, I have been complimented on my butt in the past (maybe the very distant past, but I’m getting back to it slowly but surely), so anything that helps me get it in better shape is something I’m all about.  I came up with the hashtag #rockhardassbyAug31, and the MFP challenge came with the #getlow hashtag.  And of course, as a SweatPink Ambassador, I’ll be repping the #sweatpink hashtag.

Being the organized (some might say anal) person that I am, I’ve already entered the entire challenge into my iCal.  Taking the time to do that insures that I won’t make any excuses.  It’s scheduled, and I’m going to complete it each day.  You should, too!

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So….who’s in?!

(I’m seriously so pumped about this that I’ve decided to complete a challenge a month for the rest of the year (and beyond)).

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cartoon-sunIt seems odd that today is the official first day of summer, but I’ve been on summer vacation for a month already (if you count the time I was on medical leave for my surgery).  This summer has already been great, and I know it’s just going to continue.  I’ve been loving the pace and routine that I’ve developed: wake up around 6:30 or 7am, a cup of coffee and breakfast while watching Good Morning America, doing a bit of watering in the yard to keep the plants and flowers looking good, going swimming/workout out, lunch, reading/shopping/relaxing, walk Sofi, dinner, t.v., bed.

bilbl_superThis week I’ve started weight training again, and whew, are my muscles sore!  Monday I did chest/back at the gym on the traditional machine, and I have to say, I had no real idea what the heck I was doing.  The next day or two, I felt it on my sides, rather than the back or chest.  Wednesday I did legs with a more whole body approach, following an OnDemand workout, Robert Jones’ leg building.  I did the 8-minute workout twice, which included holding a 5-lb weight in my hands as I did lunges, side lunges, squats, side squats, and a few other moves. He kept me moving the entire time, and my heart was PUMPING. I literally cannot bend down this morning.  Today is my arm day, and I’m thinking of doing a kettlebell workout.  The only downside to building these muscles is that my body is already reacting on the scale.  I’m seeing almost no movement, and I know it’s my body holding on to water and wondering what’s going on.  I knew this was the risk, so I’m not panicking.  Plus I know how  important weight training is.

badge foundingHappy 2nd birthday, Fit Approach! I was honored asked to be a SweatPink Ambassador, and although I didn’t completely understand the scope of what I was joining at the time, I’m so thrilled to be included in this fast-growing group.  I have to admit that a lot of the time I feel like I’m out of my depth – my fellow SPAs are badasses! They compete in triathlons, marathons, Diva Dashes, CrossFit competitions, etc.  And while fitness is an important part of my life, and has given me aha moments, I’m nowhere near that level…yet.  I did sign up for a Color Run in September and plan on participating in the Dirty Girl Mud Run in SF in February, so maybe I have earned my #sweatpink stripes after all.

mos_glyph_hires My dad and I always go to see the big blockbuster/action movies together; it’s our thing.  This afternoon, he and I are heading to the theatre to see Man of Steel, and I’m looking forward to it because I’ve heard such good reviews. I always love paling around with my dad, and yes, I do know how lucky I am to have such a great man as my father.

summerthing2013-large2 Sunday I’m heading to an all-day, outdoor, free concert in Golden Gate Park.  Our local radio station, Alice 97.3 FM, hosts this event every summer, and I’ve always wanted to go, but there was always some sort of conflict.  This year, my plans were open, and I’m so looking forward to this day of music and fun.

How are you celebrating summer?

Summer on a beach

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bilbl_shoppingWhat a spectacular day it’s been, and it’s only about half over! I think every weekend I’m going to start writing a post called either #SaturdayScenes or #SundayScenes, depending on which day is filled with more fun. Who knows, some weekends it might be both. As I was posting photos on Instagram today, I made up the hashtag, and I think it will be fun to keep it as a regular feature on the blog.

So, for those of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram (bellablogger), you’ve seen these photos, but I thought it would be nice to be able to write a bit more about each of them, as well.

422367_10151164129475426_268559075_nI started out this morning with my first Zumba class in months, and it felt so great to get back to it. I was so eager to give my Blochs a whirl, and so thankful that my heel is feeling better and the PF is giving me a lot less pain. I adore the energy of the class: the music, the movement, the smiles! I brought my friend Ani with me to the class, and it wiped her out! She said she really enjoyed it, but that she wasn’t sure how much more she would be able to do the rest of the day. I’m feeling sore already, but that great kind of sore where you know you used muscles that you haven’t used in forever. Zumba @ 10am on Saturdays is permanently in my iCal (except when I’m proctoring the SAT).

Today when I met Ani at the gym, she told me that she could definitely tell that I’d lost weight since she’d last seen me (NYE), and that made me feel so good!  This week has been fantastic with food & exercise, so I have a good feeling about tomorrow’s scale check-in.

580689_10151164411020426_1570796410_n Just look at that blue sky! Yes, it was 50 degrees and really chilly out, but the sun was shining and it was so clear that I just couldn’t resist putting the top down on the Beetle. (It’s funny that here in the Bay Area we’re bracing ourselves for the extreme cold (it’s been dipping below freezing at night), and my friend in Pennsylvania was saying that it was 50 there and she was out enjoying her garden. It’s all about perspective!). I felt so invigorated (and so hot) after the Zumba class, that I wanted to feel the breeze as I made my way to Sprouts to pick up my produce for the week for the week.

20130112-162159.jpg My haul from Sprouts. I got veggies, snacks (more on that in a minute), pb, tea, and almond milk for the week for $52. Not bad, at all. My Lean Cuisines/soups/Healthy Choice dinners add another $14, so my total grocery bill is $66 for the week – a far cry from $165/week that I was paying when I was on JC, right? I’m happy to say that my own version of it is working just a well, too. (More on that tomorrow for my weigh-in).

20130112-163344.jpg This is the snack find that made me smile today.  Wasabi Ginger Kettle Corn?  C’mon!  The stats are great, too.  I love the way it tastes, although I wish it was a bit “zingy-er” aka had a bit more heat from the wasabi.  Then again, I love things spicy!  I looked it up for you guys, and it looks like this is sold at Whole Foods and Cost Plus World market, too.  If you try it, let me know what you think of it.

20130112-162210.jpg So that was the first half of my Saturday.  Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but this is an action shot (no doubt illegal) driving home with the top down.

1091185-football_49ers_extended_large And now, I’m going to watch my 49ers kick some Packer ass!

How did you spend your Saturday?

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20120714-084746.jpgI think I really am becoming a fitness superhero! I’m thinking of joining a local community center so I can take more fitness classes. In addition to my normal membership at 24 Hour Fitness and my 1-month pass at the yoga studio, mind you.

It all started when my favorite Zumba instructor ever, Lollo, recently commented on one of my first posts about Zumba. In her comment, she mentioned that she’s teaching at a local community center that’s less than a mile from my house. So I looked up their schedule and was amazed by the classes they offered!

1. Spin Yogi (30 min spin, 60 min yoga) – Lollo teaches!
2. Mat Pilates (for beginners) – Lollo teaches!
3. Zumba – Lollo teaches!
4. BellyDance (24 hour doesn’t have this anymore)
5. Hot Hula (this sounds so fun!!!)

They offer lots more, but those are the ones I’d definitely go to. Well, I’m not quite ready for Spinning Yogi, but I can get there.

The cost is $29.99/mo, and I don’t have to sign a contract. They’re actually offering 3 months for $75, which saves $15, so I may go with that one. Considering that I only pay $99/year ($8.25/mo) for 24 Hour, I think I can fit this in my budget, at least for July, August, and September. I have nothing but time on my hands until August 15, and since these classes are offered in the evening, I can absolutely fit them in when school starts back up. I could easily spend $25-30 on something a lot less healthy.

So I’m going to go in on Monday and sign up!

Who am I? A girl determined to have fun with fitness while reaching her goals.

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